Alex’s Sweet William (Willy), her last Corgi, passed about three years ago and she wasn’t going to get another dog until her son was off to college, so she was going to give herself three to four years and not have any dog at all.
A year and a half ago, a sad situation came up where a woman in northern California took her own life and left behind her two Corgis. Alex’s mother, who lives nearby, asked if she wanted to adopt them. ” They were both very special needs with huge health issues” writes Alex. “I wasn’t in a place where I could take two special needs dogs.”
“In considering that, I realized I was open to having another dog if the right one came along. Just by a fluke, I happened upon the website for the Camarillo Animal Shelter, which is a high kill shelter here in Ventura County, and there was this gorgeous Corgi. Apparently he’d been found as a stray down near Los Angeles, and he still had a collar and tags on, but nobody claimed him. Because of the tags, they kept him at the shelter in LA, then moved him to Simi Valley, and then to Camarillo, so by the time I met him, he’d been at a shelter of some kind for a long time. (Nobody ever answered the phone number on the tags, so my guess is that someone might have died).
It was love at first sight, but he wasn’t being released for five days more, so I had to wait. I visited him every day, brought him a Greenie and talked to him. The very first day he stood up on his hind legs to greet me and I was in love. He was very overweight and had lost a lot of fur, but even though I wasn’t allowed to touch him or visit yet because the hold wasn’t up, I told him to “sit” and he did.
Friday came and I got to the shelter three hours earlier than they opened for adoptions. I was first in line. Actually, I was the ONLY one in line for 2-1/2 hours!
A woman came to stand behind me and we started chatting and she told me she was there for the Corgi. Another woman came, and she said she was there for the Corgi, too. My heart sank. Now I knew there would be a drawing, and there was a chance I might go home empty handed. (Except for the new collar and leash I had in my hand).
After chatting with the woman behind me, eventually we figured out that she was Jane Zweig of Bark Rescue, where I’d rescued Willy from eight years before that. She agreed to stay and if she won the drawing, she’d give it to me. So now it was just me against the third woman in line.
I said a prayer that I would accept whatever fate had for us, that whatever happened, I would just go with it.
What a liar!
I said, “You’re right, I really need this dog.” So much for surrender and acceptance!
I soon discovered that Otis is one of the fastest dogs I’ve ever known, and can beat almost any large dog running across a field for a squeaky tennis ball.
He also LOVED behavior classes with Shannon Coyner and one lesson with Kimberlee Esler, where he and Stuart (her Corgi) learned to stay in their place on a surf board. He adored learning agility, and we were hoping to get into it next Fall when my son was off to college.
Otis is the smartest dog I’ve ever had, by far. He figured out a good way to wake me up was to pull the pillow out from under my head in the mornings. Otis — aka “Otis Ready, Sitting on the Dog of the Bay”, “Otey Patotey” — what a vision to wake up to!
Otis has the funniest non-whine sound that he makes, it’s more of a low growl-talk that I have never heard any dog do before. When he can’t reach something he’ll do the sound and then go over and point at what he’s trying to get at. I can tell he’s trying to not whine and not bark, but it comes out this really funny, low sound, similar to a goat. Very unusual sound for a dog!
He’s always been a great communicator. He will run at the wall with the leash and chest bump the leash, then sit and look at me. Doesn’t get more obvious than that. One time when we were at my office, he was letting me know he had to go out. He’s usually very low key, but this day he ran at the door and stood up and scrabbled at the glass panes and looked at me. This was not typical, so of course I got up and opened the door and he ran out and threw up. I guess he didn’t want to throw up inside on the carpet.
Otis comes to work with me every day and sits in my office, and he sleeps with me at night. The days when he stayed home, I felt depressed, his face never failed to cheer me up.
I have said many times, and to many people, that this is my favorite dog that I have ever had and how glad I am that he’s only three or four, because we have another 10+ years together, and had so much we were planning to do.
So the fact that Otis was diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma just a week ago came as such an enormous blow. I’d taken him to the vet for what I thought were fatty cysts under his armpits. I thought nothing of them, believing them to possibly be something that could be unsightly, but not serious. How wrong I was. The type of lymphoma he has is untreatable and, according to the vet, “the bad kind.” He was given anywhere from 4-8 weeks.
I can hold it together during the day, but at night, as we watch TV together and I look over and think about sleeping without him, my heart breaks into a million pieces. This will be a very hard transition, but I also know that there are so many Corgis and other dogs, up at the Rainbow Bridge and he will be having so much fun up there, and will live in my heart forever.
I will always cherish the short time I had the great honor of being his Mom.”
A broken heart in North Carolina , weeps for you this day. Never long enough..never.
I'm a word person, but there just aren't adequate words to help you feel better about your precious Otis leaving you. All I can say is I'm so blessed by your story. I pray the remaining time you have with him will be joyful and memorable. I truly believe Corgis are sent from above to help us along in this life 🙂
Chris Beam says
Tears rolling down my cheeks and heart hurting as I read this. What a beautiful boy and incredible dog Mom. We are all here for you and understand how difficult this is.
it was hard to read this. It's similar to our story with Ein. We had him for such a short time, and then lost him to an aggressive cancer in a week in Dec 2011. As time has passed, I realized that we were a blessing to him. that he had the best life ever. Compared to where he came from. That has helped me a lot. He blessed and we blessed.
I'll be thinking of you, and praying for you
Laurie and Tugger says
Oh, as I began reading Otis's rescue story I was so happy and cheered to know that you were able to take Otis home. To read how quickly you both bonded and how well you communicate together is very similar to me and Tugger. I am heartbroken to hear of Otis' illness, please know that we will all be here to help you during the toughest times. God speed to you both, you are both blessed to have had each other. Laurie (Tugger's mom)
Sitting here with my red fluffy girl under my feet, sobbing crocodile tears as I read your wonderful story turn so sad. I live in Annapolis, MD with my 3 cardis, two teen girls, and husband, but will be out in CA 2/18-28 (in Granada Hills for 1/2). If I can do anything to help or comfort, please let me know. Robin French (email@example.com)
Saying prayers for a reprieve!!! Robin
OMG I was crying even before I got to the part about him being sick. I am heart broke also. Our dear Harley died at the age of 14 with kidney disease. I have been thinking about him alot in the last few days. Please let Otis know that our dear boy will be waiting for him at the rainbow bridge. Hugs for you.
You and Otis were meant to be. I'm so sorry that he will unfortunately be taken from you way too soon. I pray he will have peaceful last few days and that you can spend as much time with him as possible (he gets to come to work with you and I'm jealous of that). Please know you both are in my thoughts and prayers.
My heart aches for you. I lost my Teddy 1 day after his 3rd birthday because of lymphoma. I know you are hurting, but it is so important to enjoy every second you have left and not be upset in front of Otis so he doesnt think he has upset you. I wish you peace and strength.
Finn and Maisie's Mom
A beautiful story. The fab five from our teeny niche of Corgi Nation are with you through this journey … SLV, Gorden Whitefoot, Low Joe, Marcus WEBby, MD and family.
I recently read about lymphoma in dogs because my corgi has lumps under her armpits. Hers were fat but I read that even in aggressive cases chemo will put them in remission in most cases for 9 months or more. I would get a second opinion. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Otis.
Nancy P. says
I REALLY hate cancer! I'm so sorry. You've given Otis as much joy as he's given to you.
This was tucked into the card that our vet sent after our Corgi, Ivy, left us after only 18 months with her. I keep it on my 'fridge.
nor speak of me with tears,
but laugh and talk of me
as if I were beside you…
I loved you so-
'twas Heaven here with you.
Isla Paschel Richardson
Your story made me cry, I am so sad for the loss of your little Otis. He was so beautiful with such wise eyes.
I hope the love you shared with help heal the hurt.
I was as getting so upbeat at the being of the story of how you finally got him from the shelter after nearly loosing him to someone else. My heart sank as I read about the cancer.
This is another good reason why we should cherish every single day with them as their longevity isn't like ours even if their healthy. They're just not here long enough. My heart breaks for you and hope you'll have him as long as possible. Love him real good and before you tuck him in(I do mine) tell him how much you love him.
Tears of great sadness are running down my cheeks. This is a truly wonderful story about Otis and his Mom. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this very difficult time. Amy, Llyr and Awstin
Alex Mooney (And Otis) says
So far we are doing really well, and lots of herbal remedies seem to be working great! Thank you everyone for their beautiful comments. And please, if you're nearby, come to the Corgi Picnic this Saturday, Feb 11th in Simi Valley, put on by the beautiful and generous Kimberlee Esler
Happy lucky gal says
I can tell he is a very special dog from his photo. Your story touch my heart, may Otis be free and happy in rainbow bridge.Take care friend.